Stock Dubai skyline city
The Green Visa and Golden Visa offer long-term residency options for expats in the UAE. Picture used for illustrative purposes. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: The UAE attracts some of the best foreign talents because of its lucrative job opportunities, safety and diverse community.

The UAE offers five types of work visa, which include standard work visa, which is issued to individuals working in the private sector, government departments and free zones and long-term residency visas, such as the Green Visa and Golden Visa.

In the UAE, residency visas for Dubai are issued by the General Directorate of Foreign Affairs (GDRFA) and the immigration authority that issues visas in the emirates of Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah and Umm Al Quwain is the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Ports Security (ICP).

1. Company-sponsored work visa

If you have been offered a job in the UAE, you can move to the UAE on a company-sponsored visa, which can have a duration of two or three years, after which it has to be renewed by your sponsor.

Once you have accepted and signed a job offer letter, the company will issue an entry permit, which will allow you to travel to the UAE.

Once you arrive in the UAE, your employer will begin the visa application process. This involves getting your medical fitness test, giving your fingerprint biometric for the Emirates ID, and getting your residency permit and Emirates ID delivered to you.

It is the responsibility of the employer to apply for the worker’s residency permit and cover the recruitment and visa-related costs

2. Green visa

The Green Visa is a five-year residency permit in the UAE that does not require a sponsor. Green visa holders can sponsor first-degree relatives in the UAE and have a six-month grace period after visa cancellation and expiry.

Skilled employees, freelancers and investors can apply for the Green Visa, only if they meet certain requirements.

For skilled employees

According to, to apply for the Green Visa, skilled employees need to meet four conditions:

1. Have a valid employment contract
2. Be classified in the first, second or third occupational level as per the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE). 
3. Hold a bachelor’s degree or equivalent
4. Have a salary of not less than Dh15,000 per month.

For freelancers

Self-employed individuals or freelancers can apply for the Green visa only if they meet these three requirements:
1. Freelancer permit from MOHRE.
2. Proof of a bachelor’s degree or a specialised diploma
3. Proof of income – minimum Dh360,000 or equivalent in other currency for the last two years.


3. Golden Visa

If you are looking into long-term residency options, the Golden Visa allows expats to live, work and study in the UAE on a ten-year visa without a sponsor. Individuals such as frontline heroes (doctors and nurses), outstanding high school students and college graduates, investors, entrepreneurs, scientists, and humanitarian workers are eligible for the visa.

Golden visa holders can sponsor their family members including spouses, children and support staff without any limit, and the visa is renewable, as long as you meet the required conditions for it. Also, there is no restriction on the maximum duration of stay outside the UAE in order to keep the Golden Residency valid. To find out more about the Golden Visa and the categories eligible for it, click here.

If you are unsure about whether you qualify for the 10-year visa, you can take a quiz for free on the ICP website and find out in two minutes if you are eligible.


4. Freelance visa

If you do not meet the requirements for the Green Visa, you can opt for applying for the standard freelance visa, which is for two years. To become a freelancer in UAE, you will need a freelance work permit and a freelance visa if you do not have a family visa, sponsored by your family member.

To find out more about how freelancing works in the UAE, read our in-depth guide here.

5. Domestic worker visa

The UAE also issues a visa for domestic helpers, and it is sponsored by the employer. UAE residents cannot hire a domestic worker, unless he or she has a valid domestic worker licence, as per the UAE’s domestic workers' law - Federal Decree-Law No. 9 of 2022. To know more about the rights and responsibilities of employers and workers under the Domestic Workers’ Law, read our detailed guide here .

Do you have any questions related to the topics covered in the Living in UAE section? Write to us at